Salutations all you beautiful bibliophiles! Did you enjoy PBS’s “The Great American Read” premiere episode? As this program is rolling along, I thought this an excellent time to point out an odd fact or two about a few titles who made the list. As always, we would be tickled if you shared your favorite “Great American Reads” title and what it means to you. Personally I cannot decide between “And Then There Were None” and “Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”. They are both equally wonderful and important to me.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

We St. Louisans are mostly likely aware that one of Route 66’s nicknames is “The Mother Road” but some may not be aware where this name first appeared. Wonder no longer. It was in the Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Grapes of Wrath” that Steinbeck coined the phrase “the mother road”

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

While leaving Route 66, please grab the most massively useful thing any interstellar Hitchhiker can carry. I am speaking, of course, of your towel. Towel Day is May 25th, which is an annual celebration and tribute to the late Douglas Adams. Fans carry a towel in his honor as we contemplate meaning to “Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Not wanting his fiancée to know he was a failed author, Wilson Rawls burned all his manuscripts just before they married. However, not long after he confessed to his wife, who encouraged him to pursue his dream of being an author. Rawls rewrote “Where the Red Fern Grows” completely from memory.

1984 by George Orwell

Ironically, years before the publication of 1984 Orwell was on a watch list by his government’s Special Branch. He had landed there thanks to research for “The Road to Wigan Pier” and the book’s pro-socialist leanings. Big Brother kept Orwell under tight surveillance for over a decade.

…and we have reached the back cover but before we go some humorous words from poet, journalist, and novelist Anatole France.

“Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.”

Thanks Anatole but we shall continue to ignore that advice.

I’m Ryan and I’ll be in the library. Enjoy.

Ryan Drinkard is a Library Associate for the Kirkwood Public Library. For the better part of the past two decades he has managed many major and minor book stores in the St Louis County area. He enjoys playing video games, comics, dissecting movies, and reading. His favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, and Agatha Christie.